prowling heaven’s alleyways
with unexpected grace
you take your ease on Saturn’s stoop
then roam again the darkness,
an elegant, celestial stray hungry for attention.
Prone beneath your pathway,
curbstone-pillowed, concrete bound,
I squint and ponder
tracing your silent route through time
until I feel a tug
and hear the tiny, worried voice.
An earthbound stray has found her friend,
her source of food
no longer rising tall against the sky but flattened to the ground,
eyes turned upward,
head bent back as though the victim of a fall.
Green eyes wide,
she nudges hard against my pillowed head,
pushes back dismissive hands.
she bites and tugs my hair as though to pull me upright,
rescuing her realm
from a universe gone mad.
I leave the comet to its flight
and offer consolation to this nearer, living world.
“Look up,” I murmur,
running hands through fur that sparks
and shines like starlight in her eyes.
“A thousand years are passing.
A thousand years have passed.”
I love the night sky: the star-pictures of the constellations, the waxing and waning of the moon, the great wash of the galaxies. This week’s close passage of Comet Lulin, a beautiful and spectacular – and scientifically interesting – bit of celestial wonder simply couldn’t be passed by. Last Tuesday night, the evening of Lulin’s closest approach, I spent two hours lying in my parking lot with a pair of binoculars, drinking it in. As it turned out, I didn’t watch alone. Calliope, my stray Muse-kitty took time from her nightly rounds to keep me company. The poem is my way of holding on to the experience, even as Lulin streams off into the mysterious reaches of space.